Selling is About Sales First and Foremost
During the last 10 years, a serious trend has emerged within the business world. Those involved in the ancient art of selling, and yes it is an art, are no longer called salesmen or saleswomen, but "Business Development" agents or representatives.
I believe the rationale for this change was two fold:
1.If we called it that being selling by a different name people who can’t sell will feel better about selling.
2. The desire to remove the slick image of the used car salesman or the pushy salesman.
And, as in physics for every action there is an opposite reaction, the reaction has been that finding competent sales professionals is still very difficult. A recent survey by Manpower revealed that the most difficult position to fill is a sales representative. Also, sales training continues to be a highly searched Internet term and probably a real need for small business to large Fortune 1000 companies.
After sales professionals and working with small businesses that are trying to build a sales force to increase their business growth, the term business development is not helping to develop sales professionals. Why, because the term does not deal directly with the desired end result – a closed sale.
Words have a lot to do with how we perceive the world and ourselves. A job title of Business Development means that you believe that you could be involved in anything from holding the door open for a customer to speaking with the local government or chamber about economic development. However, a job title of sales representative means that you are directly involved and connected to selling a specific good or service. There is no question for yourself or others what you do. You are a sales person. Your actions are focused on securing the sale and not just part of the sale.
What I have also discovered is that the title of Business Development has resulted in a push back to the entrepreneur or business owner. The business development person enjoys meeting the prospects, taking them out for lunch, dropping by to chitchat and the list goes on. However, when it comes to securing the lead, developing the proposal, covering the stalls and objections and closing the sale, in many cases this falls back into the business owner's lap. Business development people enjoy the relationship building part of the sales process, but fall short in many cases in securing the desired results.
To change this negative trend means to return to calling sales people sales people. After all, isn’t that what they do, make and close sales?
2006© All Rights Reserved. Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S. www.processspecialist.com